S1 Ep6 Kurek Ashley
My connection to Kurek Ashley, the world-renowned life, business and personal development coach and former Hollywood star, actually came about through his wife Erin Ashley, who is a prominent mindfulness coach.
Kurek’s interview provides an insight into his dark days, which inspired him to rise up and enable people to manifest real change in their lives.
“I spent two and a half years with “ a gun in my mouth every night, and drugs up my nose, and smoking cigarettes, and booze, and partying. I was just trying to kill myself. Thank God I’m not a success at everything in life…” he says.
After this interview, I signed up to go on Kurek and Erin’s Find Your Fire Retreat at North Stradbroke Island and I can attest to the power of mindset – I am now a firewalker!
Watch the interview that uncovers his inspirational journey by clicking on the video above or you can read the video transcript below:
Roxanne – Hey, good morning everyone, and I thank you for joining us for another edition of the Phoenix Phenomenon where we have a chat to inspirational people who are doing amazing things in their lives, and also I’m covering a lot about the journey that they took to get to where they are today. So joining me today probably one of the most inspirational people that you could imagine is Kurek Ashley, former American actor, and now speaker, author, self-development and spiritual growth coach for the past 30 years. He has been dubbed the Transformer for his ability to make lasting change in the lives of so many people that he’s worked with over the years, and has also founded the Life Success Club. Now I need to put a disclaimer out there. I do have a bit of a cold right now, and I am a bit croaky so I apologize to everyone who is watching today, but we’re soldiering on. So, yeah, welcome, Kurek, and thank you so much for our time today.
Kurek – Aw, thanks for having me and croaky is better than cranky.
Roxanne – That’s right, this is very right, so I do also need to mention that Kurek’s book, goodness me, this is terrible.
Kurek – How Would Love Respond.
Roxanne – How Would Love Respond, excellent. Coming up to an anniversary now I believe, is it 10 years?
Kurek – It’s 10 years, it’s been a number one bestseller. It’s an honor and the thing when you write a book you hope that it will have an impact, that people will read it, number one is one of those things, and then that it will have an impact. You know I have a testimony from Anthony Robbins, and Brian Tracy, and New York Times bestsellers, but really every day I hear from somebody, you know, numerous people talking about how the book made an affect on their life, and changed their life. It’s the best feeling ever and that’s really why I really wrote it and here it is 10 years and I’m still going strong, so it’s beyond my wildest dream.
Roxanne – Yeah, so when you first decided to put pen to paper metaphorically speaking 10 years ago did you imagine that it would have such longevity, and continue to remain relevant to so many people this far down the track?
Kurek – Well, it was actually more than 10 years ago because before that I tried to write two other books, but wrote myself into a corner because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just, you know, wrote everything that I could until pretty soon I couldn’t figure out how to finish it, or where to go with it, so both of those books I quit. But I woke up one day and realized I don’t want to die with my music still in me, so I hired a wordsmith to teach me how to structure what I was thinking, and then I also learned about publicity and promotion, and publishing and all those other things because I knew that it was all important. I thought it was gonna take me three or four months to get the book done because I do over 100 presentations in 17 countries around the world, and I just figured say it, write it down, boom, you have a book but found out very quickly that the spoken word and the written word aren’t actually the same thing, you know, with pausing and tonality and gestures and all that stuff, but as an author you can’t leave a long blank space, and say that’s a dramatic pause because you’re an idiot, you know, that’s out of here, so it took me four years to get the book out, then within four hours of being released it took number one in Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, hit 15 bestsellers lists, 30 days later another 10 bestsellers lists. It wasn’t just that it was a fluke it was that it was a marketing strategy, a marketing campaign that I learned throughout those four years of writing. And then to keep it going again is a skillset, it’s not luck, it’s not just, oh, God, everybody loves the book, you have to keep energy behind it to keep it going. And so, yes, I expected it to do great, that’s only ’cause most people in life they wish really big, but the expect very little. In life if you raise your expectations you’ll live up to your expectations, and that’s where your results will be.
Roxanne – Absolutely, absolutely. And tell me a bit more about the journey that you got onto, I guess, reach the path that you’re at now. I mean, going through a lot of the interviews you’ve done over the years you seem to have literally experienced most of the highs and lows that a lot of us experience in life, maybe one of them and you kind of run the gamut yourself in your lifetime. So can you take me back to, I guess, the beginning of the journey for you, and how it has all transpired. I believe it started with acting, or getting into the acting realm is that correct?
Kurek – Well, I think the creator gives me so many adventures in life just so I have more seminar content. I guess it could, you know, my mom was married four times. My dad was married three times. Step-dad was married four times, so I guess you could always start there. I have five brothers and a sister. They never, you know, I was always the weird one, so I was always kind of outcast. So childhood was kind of, I guess you could say lonely, but taking all those things, they helped me forge through and became. And you know, if it was really easy at home, but I decided at 12 years old that I wanted to be an actor. I lied about my age, I got on stage in Chicago, and then followed through with it, and at 18 years old left for Hollywood. I started working in the movie industry. I think the story you’re talking about, though, is in 1989 I was doing a Chuck Norris movie. I had just finished the movie Lockup with Sylvester Stallone so here I’m working with two of my icon heroes, you know, and while in the Philippines doing Delta Force 2 I was in a helicopter crash where five of my friends died, and my best friend was 29 years old when he died in my arms on the way to the hospital. You know, for two and a half years I had a gun in mouth every night, and drugs up my nose, and smoking cigarettes, and booze, and partying. I was just trying to kill myself. Thank God I’m not a success at everything in life, and that, you know, decided that I’m done, I can’t keep going this direction ’cause there’s so many other people that it’s affecting, And so literally, unscrewed a broom pole out of a broom, and held it over my head like a samurai warrior, and cut a line in the sand, and I said, once you step over the line, I’m done. And I gave up cocaine, I gave up cigarettes, I gave up alcohol abuse, I gave all my guns away. Not to just people who were wandering down the street, I gave ’em away to gun collector friends of mine. And literally made a decision to change my life and my life since that moment is a by-product of making that decision.
Roxanne – Absolutely. And I guess, what was the catalyst for that? Because, you know, when you are dealing with like, you know, drugs and alcohol, it is like a downward spiral and it can, you know, it is an addiction and it can really be all-consuming. So, how, was there a particular trigger or something that I guess gave you that moment of clarity to make that change?
Kurek – I woke up one day and I had a new thought. And the new thought was that your life’s not your own. That there’s people who love and care about you. And there’s people who look up to you. Some of ’em you don’t even know about, you know, it could be the checkout person at the grocery store that you’re nice to, you know what I mean? You have no idea how dark their life is and then because you’re nice to them, it made an impact on ’em to not kill themselves or not do something else, and I thought about that. And I thought, you know, this can’t be my legacy that I was a person with so much promise but then wound up just another sad statistic about somebody who threw it all away. And so, I decided at that point, you know, that instead of people helping you up, you’re actually dragging ’em down because negative energy is a heavier, denser energy than positive energy is, and so, you know, it was time to turn it around and you know, one of the things is that I didn’t die in a helicopter crash so maybe the creator has a purpose for me and I might wanna start living that purpose.
Roxanne – Right. Okay, and so I guess before the crash, and before all of that happened, had you, were you already, I guess, a spiritually-inclined person or was that a part of your journey of discovery once you made that decision to step over the broomstick?
Kurek – Yeah, I was, it’s just not at the level I am.
Roxanne – Yeah.
Kurek – Like, you know. The thing is, the helicopter crash, the way I describe it is it was like, ripping my Superman cape off me because all of a sudden I found out that I was much more mortal and that things could happen, you know. I thought I was bulletproof before that. And, you know, kind of survived everything I went through, and you know, unscathed, and then here. It’s just my whole world got turned upside down. It made me search for answers, you know. But that’s life, it’s the challenges of life that give our life value because they force you into growth, they force you into what’s called perturbation, to become a bigger, better person. And I believe that the creator would never give me a challenge I couldn’t handle. And that the rewards are always in proportions to the test. So nowadays, I’m like, bring it on. And if you’re gonna test me, bring it on ’cause I know what comes out on the other side of this, ’cause it’s gonna force me into growth. But that was part of that lesson that came out of that, is that, you know, I was already into personal development. I had already been reading and studying, and goals, and all those things. But it forced me into a much higher level with all that stuff because I needed it to turn my life around.
Roxanne – Absolutely, absolutely, and can you take me back to those days where you were, you know, you’ve just suffered a tremendous loss. So, was it four or five people that were lost?
Kurek – Five friends.
Roxanne – Yeah. And then of course, the discretion that comes with us. You know, trying to deal with such a significant loss. Take me back to those days, how soon after that did you find yourself, you know, looking to the external sources of, you know, the drugs, the alcohol, to numb the pain?
Kurek – Almost, well, almost immediately. Its, you know, in the Philippines, before we left, it turns out that, I don’t remember it, but I was laying in the lobby of the five-star hotel we were staying at, literally in the fetal position crying in the middle of the lobby. And stunt guys had to pick me up and bring me to my room. One time I got drunk and it was in the middle of a cyclone, like a very intense cyclone. And I was walking down this main street in blue jeans and a T-shirt, and cowboy boots yelling things out at people, trying to start fights with people until Chuck Norris’ brother, who was the director of the movie, Aaron Norris, pulled up in a taxi, rolled down the window, and said, “Get in the car, Kurek. “And you are now on 24-hour watch.” And so, he had this suite, hotel room, so I had to sleep on the couch in his hotel room until we finally headed back. So, it was almost immediately, ’cause it was so devastating and I felt so much like a failure that I couldn’t save my friends’ lives. And that, you know, all the stuff that I went through and the horrors that I saw, you know. It was like just horrific, you know. Mike was on fire when I carried him out. So, you know, things that you see and experience. But it’s, and it just got darker and darker because again, the more you allow yourself to get down, and then, by the way, alcohol and stuff is the depressant, literally gets you farther and farther down, the more down you go, the worse it can get. So that’s why you have to draw a line in the sand, and say, I’m done, this is it, no more, never again, nothing, out. And if you don’t do that, it’s like being buried neck deep in dog poo, you’ve been in it so long you’re convincing yourself it doesn’t stink. But that, you have to pull the nose plugs off and go, this stinks, I’m done. And that’s that moment of change is when you finally draw that line in the sand. I just did it, you know, for real.
Roxanne – Yeah.
Kurek – But it was very metaphoric as well.
Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely. And do you think that was a big thing for you as well? To physically just, you know, to do that in your backyard? And to just, how important was that for you I guess, for you for moving forward?
Kurek – It was real, I mean, you know, it’s like, hey, let’s do it, and you know, and it was like havin’ a ceremony where you’re sayin’, that’s it. And I’m gonna live up to this ceremony now. And I’m making a testament to the universe right now that this is what I’m gonna be, and yeah. And, you know, the funny thing is I study aikido now. I’ve been training in aikido for the last 10 years. And aikido is based in the samurai. So I do weapons training, and sword training, and all this stuff as well as aikido itself. And it’s very, very metaphoric. So it’s always been kind of a part of my life. And the reason aikido is attractive to me, or I’m attracted to aikido, I should say, is that, ai, A, I, means to be in harmony. What’s ki is energy, do means the way or the path. To be in harmony with energy is a way of life. And so even back then, that metaphoric, cutting that line in the sand and doing it was me harmonizing with it, and then gonna redirect it.
Roxanne – Excellent, that’s great, and you know, can you tell me a bit about, I guess your, you would have had to go through a recovery of some sort, you know, to get back on the right path after jumping over that broomstick. Can you take us through what that looked like for you and how long the process took you until you felt like you were healed?
Kurek – Sure, well, I didn’t jump over a broomstick, I cut a line in the sand, like a samurai. You know, like I used the broomstick as my sword. But the, you know, the thing is that after doing that, and giving up the drugs, and the, you know, the alcohol, all those things. You know, you’re still dealing with the crash, you’re still dealing with the loss of your friends. You know, life didn’t instantaneously change.
Roxanne – Yeah.
Kurek – But that’s when, you know, I decided, okay, all this time that I’ve been wasting on being drunk, and stoned, and the rest of those things, is if I start reading my goals, and I start exercising, and you know, every morning as I get up in the dark hours of the morning, usually with flashbacks, and nightmares, and stuff. And I’d take a walk, and stop in the park, and do some pushups and pull-ups ’cause motion creates emotion. It will get you to start feeling better. And then what you gotta do is you gotta celebrate, celebrate, celebrate, so, celebrate everything you’re doing approximately right, quit all the criticism and start celebrating. Well, because of that, you start to feel just a little bit better, that’s the difference between first and fourth at the Olympics, is one one-hundredth of a second difference. So that little bit is bigger than you think. So I started celebrating that. And then, you know, you go, wow, I’m startin’ to feel a little bit better. And you celebrate it, and then I feel a little better, and then one day you wake up, and you’re like, wow, I actually feel good, and you keep celebrating. You keep doin’ it, you keep doin’ it. And then all of a sudden, aw, I’m feelin’ awesome. And then all of a sudden there’s a change where, man, you’re on the other side of it and, you know, you just keep takin’ off. But what happens for a lot of people, once they start to feel great, they stop doing the activities that got ’em to feel great. And they start to feel bad again. Instead, for me it’s just been staying in that journey because most people overestimate what they can do in the short term but underestimate what you can do in a long, consistent term.
Roxanne – Mm-hmm, absolutely.
Kurek – So, stay on the path.
Roxanne – Yeah. And I guess, you know, even someone like yourself who has been, you know, on the up-and-up for as long as you have, have there any been, I guess, any temptations to take the boot off the accelerator to, and how do you work through that to keep on your path?
Kurek – Aw, well, you know, look, I’ve been through two very expensive divorces, you know, both great people, you know, not obviously people I’m supposed to be married to for the rest of my life. You know, one of them the son of my mom and, excuse me, the mom of my son, that would sound better. One of them is the mom of my son. And we’re still great friends, we’re great parents, but one of the things I found through those two marriages is that I was the common denominator, you know? So, they weren’t married to each other. So, I had to work on myself again. Now I’m married to the woman of my dreams, my best friend, Erin, you know. It took me to grow, to be a better person, to finally meet somebody like Erin and marry her. So, it’s always about evolution, about working on yourself, but I’m a real guy, you know. Life still happens, you know, just ’cause I’ve been in a helicopter crash, doesn’t mean you’re immune to problems, or catastrophes, or whatever. One of the things it’s taught me though was that life can kick you really hard, you know? You don’t have to be a bad person to have life kick you, so any day that life’s not kicking you, don’t look for reasons to get kicked. Don’t find reasons to feel upset. Don’t look for a reason to be pissed off. Look for reasons to feel good, look for reasons to be happy, look to be more loving, if you look for it, you’ll find it. But that still doesn’t make you immune. But what it will do is attract a better quality of life to you. Obviously, when everything is going great. And then when it’s challenging, that it will give you that strength to be able to brush yourself off and pick yourself back up, and keep on your journey. Because that’s life, and another way is the soul. I came down here to experience life. Not just the fluffy happy parts, all of it. Because that’s why we go to sad movies, or we go to scary movies, ’cause we wanna feel it all. In my life, most people say that that’s like 10 lifetimes in one life, that’s ’cause I’m here to live. I’m here to pull all the stops out and do it. And you know, here I’m in my late 50s, I still train in aikido and I get throw around a lot, you know, and sometimes you’re sore and it doesn’t, you know, it’s in martial arts, it’s not arts and crafts. But no, I get thrown hard on the ground, I get up smiling, and they said, man, you’re like, you can’t be beat, man. Like as hard as you get thrown, you get up smiling even bigger. And I go, ’cause I’m still standin’. Unless I’m done, unless I’m dead, I haven’t peaked yet, and so keep puttin’ the pressure forward in a positive pressure on yourself to keep living, and you’ll live. And just wake up everyday and try to make this your masterpiece, make this the best day you’ve ever lived. And look, if something goes south, deal with it, brush yourself off, and keep goin’ on your path.
Roxanne – Absolutely. And so, for some of us who, you know, still, I guess, yet to find the way to turning a negative into a positive. And it sounds like looking in your past interviews, you know, even in your parents’ past, you were able to find, you know, the positive. Having the last conversation with them, being able to say goodbye, you know. It’s incredible that you can find, I guess, a positive in everything, and anyone can do that. But I guess, what is the key steps for people to start on that journey themselves?
Kurek – It’s one question, you know, well, which is, what’s great about this? You know, what’s great about the helicopter crash? Well, you know, it’s a strange question when you think about it but what is great about it? Well, at least I had five friends to lose. Some people have nobody, you know, at least Mike died in my arms, not in a stranger’s arms. At least the care to save everybody was given to those people because I can guarantee that I was one of those people doing that as well as watching many other people doing that. I saved two people’s lives that day. But, you know, when you get caught up in your drama, you forget to mention the good stuff, you know. I lived, that’s another good thing. So, what’s great about the passing my parents, well, first, my dad died when I was 44. Not 14, or four, or four months. I had a great relationship with my dad. He didn’t suffer from the cancer that he had. He went easy, died in his sleep. You know, we can look for those things by asking for it, I’m not a religious person, yet it’s Biblical, ask and it will be given. So, you know, you ask good questions, you get good answers, you ask bad questions, you get bad answers, so, what’s great about this, will change your focus from the negative side of it to the positive side, and by the way, everything has opposite sides to it. Look for the positive, you’ll find the positive.
Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely, it’s a big mindset shift, really, isn’t it, it’s so much easier to gravitate towards the negative, and to have a bit of a whinge, isn’t it? So.
Kurek – I don’t know, I think the suffering isn’t that easy. I think people just get used to it. Or feel helpless that they can’t change it. The thing is, it’s just as much energy to find the positive as it is to find the negative. But the positive feels good, the negative feels bad. So.
Roxanne – Absolutely.
Kurek – My training has just said, go for what feels great, go for what feels great, and look, we’re all gonna die anyways, and the purpose of our life, people are always searching for their purpose, well, that’s easy, enjoy your life. That’s the purpose of your life is to enjoy it. Make it the best you can, and if you do that at the end of this lifetime, you’ll realize you won. If you don’t, you’re gonna have to come back and do it all over again, and you go through all the same problems, and the trials and tribulations, until finally you get it right. Me, I finally figured it out, just, you know, look, my wife, my kids, my own self, it’s all borrowed. You gotta give it all back, the only thing you get to keep is the love you gave, the love you received, and the experiences your soul got to have. So, love your experiences, no matter what they are. And you get to keep ’em and take ’em with you. Not the tangible part of it, but the essence of it.
Roxanne – Yeah, that’s really beautiful, I love that. Excellent, so tell me, you mentioned your training as well. So, obviously, you’ve been on quite a huge journey of self-development and discovery along the way. Now tell me, I guess, once you were past the depression stage and looking to the next stage of your life, how soon after that was it that you connected with Tony Robbins, or was there another step before that, that set you on that path?
Kurek – Oh, I had been doing personal development since I was in high school, it’s just that Tony, you know, I read Tony’s book in 1984 when it first came out, when Tony used to put 20 people in his house for workshops in those days, you know, 1984. Then, you know, when I first met Tony in 1991, I believe it was, Tony had like 400 people in his seats. He wasn’t the iconic Tony Robbins that you see now. But I identified with him, Tony and I are around the same age, you know, we both have high energy. I didn’t really get around Tony to learn what he had to teach, I go in around Tony ’cause I wanted to learn how he built his business.
Roxanne – Right.
Kurek – And I went to one of his seminars and then he asked me to train him in the gym. And I coached some of his clients, I taught all the health and fitness at Life Mastery programs. And but I, you know, I was like their Trojan horse. I was behind the scenes learning how do you sell out seminars, and how do you put people in the seats, and how do you market yourself, and build your profile, and those things. Because I had already been studying personal development for so long, that part I kind of had down. It was the rest of it, and as soon as, you know, after five years of workin’ with Tony when I left working with him, my business went through the roof because now I had more specific strategies on how to build my business.
Roxanne – Right, excellent, okay, and so, I know that you have, you’ve been around the world, teaching. Excuse me. Teaching the things that you teach. And I wanted to find out, I guess, some of the memories or some of the experiences of connecting with, you know, real-live people that have really resonated with you, for the better or worse.
Kurek – Sure, well, there is no worse.
Roxanne – That’s good.
Kurek – But, you know, like, there’s a gentleman that I’m working with this year that we met at our Find Your Fire Retreat, that my wife and I teach. We give a couple times a year. And his mom had written me a few months earlier saying, “Hey, my son’s got very aggressive “Tourette syndrome, he’s really at the end “of his rope, he’s almost suicidal, “blah, blah, blah, you know, can you help him?” I said, ma’am, I’ve never really worked with people with Tourette syndrome but I can certainly help him, you know. Well, he came to the Find Your Fire Retreat in November, made a decision, came on board to coach with me, and within four months, has no Tourette syndrome anymore.
Roxanne – Wow.
Kurek – And not only that, he’s got a big promotion with his job, he’s got a partner of his dreams. He’s, you know, just his whole holistic life has expanded. There’s a gentleman that we just saw in Melbourne two weeks ago when we were down there. Fitness trainer, great shape, all that stuff, you know, and a few years ago, called me up, said, “I got cancer,” and coached him through it. Now he has no cancer anymore. Every couple that I’ve worked with who wanted to have kids, that says it’s impossible, all have children now, so, you know, it’s not me obviously, I’m, you know, it’s them, I just teach them how to do it. Because it’s based in a formula, not my formula, it’s the formula. It’s based in the science of life, nature, physics, cause and effect, put in certain actions, you get certain results, and so, you know. Over, and over, and over again, I see that it works for everybody who puts it into action, it’s not biased. It’s not prejudice, it’s not about special or lucky people. Everybody has equal potential, not everybody will do it but for the people who will do it, the results are guaranteed, and that’s what I love about it and that’s why I love what I teach it’s ’cause I only wanna teach things that work for everybody all the time, no exceptions, not luck, or should work, hopefully it’ll work. It definitely works, and that’s why, you know, over and over again, I get shown that I have more and more references to keep backing it up, that it works for everybody. And then I’m always in awe of myself. But you know, you see Adrian, you know, this young man who had the Tourette syndrome. How dramatically different his life is, and it’s not even a year yet.
Roxanne – Hmm.
Kurek – I mean, it’s unbelievable, it’s like, you look at him, he doesn’t look like the same guy. I mean, next week, we’re doing a show for Channel 7 in which they’re interviewing him as well. And, you know, but when they see the footage of him when he had it to when he didn’t, literally a week apart, you go, that’s not even the same guy, that’s how different he looks.
Roxanne – Yeah, yeah.
Kurek – Life changing.
Roxanne – That’s incredible, yeah, yeah. And I guess that, what great a driver to keep you doing what you do, to see results like that.
Kurek – Yeah, and Erin, when she’s, you know, ’cause she knows Adrian really well. When she saw the footage, the week when it stopped, you know, and by the way, that couple days before I said, we’re done, man, I’ve figured out the code. We’re done, it’s over, man, and he’s like, “This is the worst week ever,” and I go, no, it’s trying to dig it’s heels in. It’s trying to justify it’s existence. It’s about to let go, and sure enough, we called him like three days later sayin, “I don’t have any twitches anymore, it’s gone.” And Erin saw the video ’cause we do it on Zoom where we could see, and she cried, she said, “That’s a miracle to see that, that’s a miracle.” And I said, “That’s what we do everyday, honey.” And then, I’m never, look, I’m not complacent about it. I’m still in awe myself, it’s just that, I raised my expectations, I mean, there’s a woman I worked with a number of years ago that I got all these emails coming into my office in those days from a bunch of different people. And my staff was saying, “Hey, Kurek, “all these people are askin’ about this one person.” Well, when I looked at the emails, I noticed the email address was the same. It was a woman who was a schizophrenic with seven personalities.
Roxanne – Oh, wow.
Kurek – And so look, I can only deal with her. Thanks for asking for help but I gotta work directly with her because it’s the client-coach relationship thing, you know, and so she called me. My staff said, hey, she’s on the phone, what are you gonna do? And I said, I don’t know but I’m not comin’ out of my office until she’s one harmonized human being. And five and a half hours later, I came out of my office and she’s one person now. And for years, she kept coming to our events in New Zealand, staffing, she’s got a job and friends, a relationship. One person from seven diagnosed personalities to one.
Roxanne – Wow.
Kurek – And so, I think I have the best job on the planet. ‘Cause I get to watch people live their dreams.
Roxanne – Absolutely, absolutely, and I guess your reach as well, you know, doesn’t have any age bounds. You know, you see obviously the young guy you were speaking to, and then you’ve got, you know, people established, and international business people that, you know, Forbes 500 kind of caliber, that can still benefit, so, it’s really incredible.
Kurek – I have a six-year-old boy who found his dad after he committed suicide, he was blamed himself, he was an introvert, whatever, you know. He came to my program, he participated in a whole two-day program, fire walked with me. Man, now he’s go-kart racing, he’s, you know, dancing, he’s, you know, he’s got a whole different life. Now it’s, let’s see, that would be like 2003. So, you know, here it is, all these years later and I was a young man, you know. But his mom said, “Thank you for giving me my son back.” You know?
Roxanne – Yes.
Kurek – Because he was gone for, you know, after what he went through. I’ve had 70-year-old people, 85-year-old people, you know, go, oh my god, I’m gonna live my life at another level. And it’s just, you know, it’s dramatic. And then, you know, I’ve worked with people from one company in the States that have like, 65,000 employees so it’s a major, major company. And it turns out that his son, his two-year-old son died at a basketball game by falling through the grandstands.
Roxanne – Oh my goodness.
Kurek – You know? And fell to his death, and for all this time, he was hanging onto that anger over what happened. And again, so, here he is running a big, billion-dollar company but in, you know, his personal life, was really in tragedy and again worked with him, and turned it around, so now he’s successful there and successful in happiness and the rest of those things. So it doesn’t really matter, we all go through our stuff. Everybody has fear, everybody has doubt, everybody’s got insecurities, everybody’s got challenges. The success is we learn how to manage it differently.
Roxanne – Mm-hmm, absolutely.
Kurek – That’s the key to think it.
Roxanne – Yeah, yeah, and another thing with what you teach as well is that it’s very holistic. It’s not about success measured on money or success measured on, you know, what you have. It’s looking at the spiritual, it’s looking at your relationships and everything like that. And I guess, I wanted to ask you why you think it is important to hone in on all of these individual areas of life and make sure that they’re all functioning as best as they can.
Kurek – Well, I mean, what’s the point in being rich if you’re sick?
Roxanne – Yeah.
Kurek – Or what’s the point of being wealthy if you’re lonely? But also what’s the point of having a relationship but you’re broke? I mean, the thing is that the number one reason relationships break up is money issues. And the number one reason people are stressed out is money issues, so it’s not not about having money but it’s not just about having money. ‘Cause money won’t buy you happiness but poverty will definitely buy you pain. So it’s about having a holistic life, you know? So, Erin and I, we have the most amazing relationship. And we have the most experiential love and time with our kids, we spend a lot of time with our kids because your kids spell love T, I, M, E. They want your time, so we give it to them, you know. Luckily we’re in a spot where we can. But we weren’t always in that financial position when we got together, you know, we were countin’ change for school lunches sometimes because, you know, we’re starting off together in business, the rest of those things. But we said if we enjoy our lives now, and we work at being successful in business, well then, when we succeed in business, we’ll be happy. But if you don’t learn how to be happy now, you definitely won’t be happy then. So it’s about building it but if your brain links up happiness with success, you’ll get more and more successful ’cause your brain’s wired to move you towards what you perceive to be pleasurable. And it starts expanding, so it’s about having a holistic life so you have all of the areas covered. But not just, you know, there’s a lot of kumbaya, tree-huggin’ ideas which, oh, god, I’m spiritual and all that stuff, yeah, but you’re broke. That’s not spiritual to be broke. And by the way, that was Wayne Dyer who pointed it out to me one day because I was hanging out, well, I was at one of Wayne’s presentations. I had met him a couple times, and he came up to me, and he said, “Hey, Kurek, congratulations, “you’re startin’ to sell out events.” And all the rest of the stuff and, “People are raving “about your speaking, but I hear you talk about this, “you’re the spiritual guy, not the money-making guy.” I go, “Yeah, I don’t really need money. “I just want to be spiritual.” He goes, “Where did you learn that in order “to be spiritual you gotta be poor, where’d you learn that?” Because don’t say the Bible, ’cause you never read the Bible and I have, and it’s not even in there. And I said, well, what about? And he goes, no, that’s not, money is the root of all evil, it’s the love of money, that’s the quote. See, people who wanna miss that part. It’s the greed of money but not money. And so, he said, “Do you think I’m spiritual?” And I said, well, you’re Wayne Dyer. And he goes, “Do you think I’m wealthy?” As I’m looking at 25 of his best-selling books and audio programs out, I said, I’m guessing you make some money. He goes, “You get my point?” And I said, “Yes, sir.” And he said, “You know, if you don’t allow yourself “to have it, what are you teaching other people? “That they gotta stay poor too?” He goes, “But when you’re wealthy “and you’re genuine, and you’re spiritual, “and you’re loving, you’re giving “other people permission that they can have it all as well.” So, you’re teaching an inappropriate lesson, Kurek. You need to change that, and instantly, it was a game-changer for me.
Roxanne – Yeah, yeah. That’s incredible how these little switches get flicked on along the way, isn’t it? And, yeah, the people that you come across. So, I imagine you, if you’ve probably spent time with some pretty amazing people in your career.
Kurek – I have spent, well, I have spent time with a lot of famous people, if you mean that. But not all of them are amazing.
Roxanne – Okay.
Kurek – But I also, you know, I’ve met a lot of amazing people who are just like you and me, everyday people.
Roxanne – Absolutely.
Kurek – I mean, you know, last year I was on stage with, I was booked to speak on stage with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sydney. And so, it got back to the States and I got a text message from Sylvester Stallone sayin’ come join me for lunch on Saturday. ‘Cause I’ve known Sly since I was 18 years old. And I worked in the movie Locked with him but, you know, I’ve known Sly for a long time. And so, he invited me to lunch, which by the way, when I lived in LA, that was like a regular, weekly, you know, multiple times a week we’d all get together for lunch and dinners, and played polo at his farm and the rest of the stuff with him. But you know, here it is all these years later. And, you know, I’m always in awe, you know, I mean, Sylvester Stallone, and he said, “What are you doin’ tomorrow?” And I said, I don’t know, why? He goes, “Superbowl, my house.” Yeah, nice. And then, next Saturday, got together with him for lunch again before I headed back to Australia. And in walks Arnold Schwarzenegger. So now I’m sitting at the table with Arnold one side, and Sly across the table, it was only like, eight people sittin’ there, and Arnold is one of the most wonderful, present, focused on you type people I’ve ever met, it’s actually off-putting. He’s so present with you, you know, it’s like shocking how into what you have to talk about he is, and then, so when then, you know, when it came time to being in Sydney with him, man, he gave me a big hug, and, hey Kurek, this guy’s everywhere and you know. So I had two of his cigars, his favorite cigars waitin’ for him, and he said, “How’d you know which cigars?” And I said, “Called Sly.” And he goes, “Nice move, Kurek, well played.” But they’re people, they’re just people who followed their dreams, and that’s why I love hanging out with people like that because I’ve always used them as inspirations for myself, that if they can do it, I can do it. How did they do, follow the steps, get the same results, there’s cause and effect.
Roxanne – Mm-hmm, mm-hmm, absolutely. And, so what was it that brought you to Australia after you know, growing up and living in the States?
Kurek – Well, you know, I was coaching and doing speaking engagements and somebody asked me to come out and save their business. They said they sold children’s educational products so I thought, hey, that’s a good cause and whatever. Well, it turns out they sold Call Yours encyclopedias door to door, they, you know, owned the business and did that. And so I came out, I saved their business but they wound up not paying me and left me homeless here in Australia. So I now was homeless in two countries at the same time, I couldn’t even fly home to be homeless. And so, I decided to turn on the engines and do what I teach myself, and you know, we’re doing free seminars to promote a paid seminar that was gonna give me enough money to get home. At one of those free seminars was Natalie Cook, bronze medalist from the ’96 Atlanta Olympics for beach volleyball, and asked me to work with her. And I took her and Kerri Pottharst to win the gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. And basically became a hometown boy. Fell in love with the country and have been here ever since.
Roxanne – Okay, wonderful. I heard that Natalie actually called you out at that particular event that you first met, is that right? You talked about that.
Kurek – Yeah, well, that’s only because, and that, you know, again, it’s funny how the universe gives you what you need when you need it.
Roxanne – Mm-hmm.
Kurek – For some reason, I still to this day don’t know why. I said something for the first time I’ve ever said it and that is, who here remembers the person who stands on the third box at the Olympics? I mean, ever rush out to buy your book, so you know, gee, how’d you get third. Anyways, at the end of the program, you know, girl walks up, she says, “Hi, how are you?” And I said, “I’m fine, how are you?” And she goes, “I was on the third box at the Olympics.” Look, ma’am, I’m sorry, I didn’t even know you were here. I wasn’t picking on you, she goes, “No, the reason I’m upset is everything you said “was true, here I’m third-best in the world, “there’s no endorsement deals, you get no book deals, “no commercials, nothing,” she said, “will you take me to win gold medals at the Olympics “’cause I know you have the skills and tools I need, “will you train me?” And I said, yes, ma’am, and so for the next two and a half years I worked with her and Kerri. And September 25th, 2000, at Bondi Beach, we beat the best team in the world, the Brazilians, and won the gold medals.
Roxanne – Yeah, and you know, yeah, you remember the exact date, that must be burned into your memory. Tell me what that moment felt like for you.
Kurek – I sobbed, I cried, I, you know, I thought I was gonna have a heart attack every point, only because the game went like two and a half hours. You know, it was like a battle royal, it was like gladiator fight. And, you know, it’s all riding right on this. But it was also, you know, being there 100% and present. You know, like, man, I’m at the Olympics. No matter what, I’m still a part of this moment. And then when we won, you know, it’s just that, you know, crescendo of emotion, and you know, I burst into tears. And then all of sudden, Natalie grabs the microphone and goes, “Ladies and gentlemen, “our success coach, Kurek Ashley, “who gave us the brains to win.” And like, that’s the fire walker! You know, let him down, let him down! So I went onto the sand and got pictures and all this stuff, and you know, it was a big deal but here it is, you know, 18 years later, it’s still a big deal because for us, for all of us involved, it was all of our gold medal because we all had to face ourselves, and our own fears, and our own limiting beliefs, and work on that to finally get to a result but that’s a trophy. You know, that gold medal. The gold experience, you can’t take from any one of us, you know, so we can all have that. You can always make your life golden by making every moment as golden as you can, by living to the fullest. You know, the scoreboard is really for the fans. You know, the people in the stadium. The experience is for the athlete, you know. And it’s not about whether you win or lose the game, it’s about how did you show up and how did you play. And that’s life, and so for me, it’s about, you know, that if I can do this, I can do anything. And we all have those references. By the way, you don’t have to have gold medals at the Olympics. But we just saw Kerri at one of my events in Sydney last week and I said, “Kerri, did you bring your medal?” And she’s like, “No, why would I?” You know, like, see, it’s a medal. And, you know, and I said, one day, you know, you won’t be carryin’ it anymore, it’s not as big as deal as you think it is. It is a big deal here but you don’t carry the medal around in your pocket anymore, you know? And she said, “You know, you taught me that, Kurek.” And I went, nope, just checking, you know? But now she’s, you know, her and Kerri are Hall Of Famer’s, Volleyball Hall of Fame, Australian Order of Merit, multi-millionaires, best selling authors, have their partner and their children of their dreams. You know, everything that they dreamed about, they have. And they have gold medals, which is a nice trophy.
Roxanne – Yeah, absolutely, that’s incredible. And they’ll get it all because you decided randomly to throw that comment out there. So, yeah, it’s really incredible how the universe works.
Kurek – There are no accidents.
Roxanne – Yeah. So you did mention fire walking. I was gonna lead into that, so you’ve given me a bit of an in there, obviously, yes. You are quite renowned, I guess, for the fire walking aspect of your teaching.
Kurek – The longest in history, yeah, 81 meters.
Roxanne – That is. And a record-holder to boot, absolutely. So, you know, I guess, well, take me to that. Take me to the record, well, attempt and success. What was it that prompted that for you?
Kurek – The record was done because I used it as a promotional tour to promote a workshop I was doing. You know, that was that one I was gonna make enough money with to leave, you know. But and I thought it would be a good media thing. Then, you know, after doing 18-hour-long seminar day, and then taking 1,200 people fire walking across the coals, now I had to break the world record. And I had the worst migraine headache ever. You know, I was dehydrated, I hadn’t eaten in a few days. I was exhausted, and I was just about to quit, and I said, Kurek, that’s what this is all about, man. You teach people when you’ve got nothing left in the tank, when you think you’re on empty, you have reserves in abundance, and I said, let’s turn it on. And I said, lay down 50 more feet. And they’re like, “What?” I go, just do it, we then laid down 66 feet. ‘Cause originally it was 200 feet, now it’s 266 feet, which turns out to be 81 meters. And I get it and walked, we had CNN there, and you know, all the media outlets and everything. And again, it was just about learning how to hold your focus longer. ‘Cause in life, we have so much input. So much things that can take you off your game or distract your focus, and it’s just about holding your focus longer but I have taken tens of thousands of people fire walking safely. My wife, my mom, my 12-year-old daughter just fire walked with us last time at the retreat. Kids and paraplegics on their hands, where you hold them up like a wheelbarrow, you know, so they can walk. But it’s a metaphor for what you think is impossible isn’t. Here you have 600 degrees in searing hot coals in front of you, your brain goes, that’s impossible, I can’t do it, but once you make it across, there’s no damage, there’s no pain. You made it, your brain goes, wait a minute. If I can do that, that I thought was impossible, what else have I been telling myself is impossible is gonna hold me back, so for the rest of your life, you have this reference, if I can do this, I can do anything, and that’s what happens. If you gives that moment of making the decision again later on in life to keep moving forward.
Roxanne – Absolutely, that’s incredible. You mentioned, you know, some younger people and obviously people of all ages, do you know how old the oldest person is that you’ve taken across on a fire walk?
Kurek – Well, I know of a 75-year-old person, you know. I also took an 80-year-old person glass walking where they walked across broken glass with me.
Roxanne – Oh, goodness.
Kurek – No, but, you know, the age thing, the age is a man-made creation. So that doesn’t really matter. It’s, you know, the creator made us children first so that we could master it, not surrender it. You know, ’cause you’ve become the dirty word known as an adult, it’s to become a wiser child. You know, so you got wisdom but you still have that child-like view of life, you know? Where you wake up everyday and you’re acting like it’s your first day, and it’s act like it’s gonna be your last day, ’cause if it’s your first day, you’re gonna have awe and wonder. And if it’s your last day, you’re gonna have appreciation and gratitude, and the people who live in your life would notice the components, everyday is magical. ‘Cause you know, every morning you’re born, And every night before you go to sleep, you die. So what do you wanna do with your life today? It is, I don’t know if 80 is more of a story.
Roxanne – Yeah.
Kurek – You know, just spent more time circling the sun. That’s all it really means but it’s how do you live your life?
Roxanne – Wonderful, that’s incredible and so, you are already on tour this year, become the unstoppable YouTourer. Tell me more about how that’s unfolding for you, and what the rest of 2018 holds.
Kurek – Well, we only have, I think, I’m just looking at the calendar. We have Auckland and Wellington left in the tour. For Becoming the Unstoppable You but in three weeks from the 7th of September to the 10th of September, we have the Find Your Fire Retreat on Stradbroke Island where everybody does a four-day residential program with Erin and I, and your ticket price includes your accommodation, your meals, everything. So all you gotta do is come to the program. And it’s holistic, again, it’s working on the complete you. And then at the end of the program, we take everybody fire walking. Now you don’t have to fire walk but you will because people, you see everybody else doing it, you’re going, you know what, I just wanna see what that feels like.
Roxanne – Yeah.
Kurek – And you know, nobody’s talking you into it. Nobody’s, you know, pressuring. If you don’t wanna walk, don’t walk. You don’t have to walk, it’s not even what the program is about actually, it’s about finding your fire. But you know, we’ve had people standing on the side, watching everybody else, and they go, nah, I’m doing this. And they get in line, and it’s a game changer for ’em. And so that’s the, I’m not sure if that’s the last retreat we have this year but we, you know, and then I have corporates but I also have my coaching group called the Success Inner Circle. So that we do regularly, and those things, so, and I’m writing a new book, so there’s always something on in the life of Kurek Ashley.
Roxanne – Absolutely.
Kurek – And then we’re getting ready to do a TV show next week for Channel 7 but also, we’re working on creating my own TV show. So we have a lot of hard work.
Roxanne – Absolutely, and so, you know, in that elusive free time, what do you do, I guess, for relaxation, and you know, and to do with the kids?
Kurek – Oh, everyday we spend, you know, Erin and I wrestle who gets to take the kids to school, and who gets to pick ’em up, and we love doing that. And everyday we spend quality time with the kids, and abundance of it, you know. We have a 14-acre farm on the Sunshine Coast so we have amazing views of a big lake. You know, Erin and I enjoy a cup of coffee on the deck every morning together and just enjoy being together. Look, she’s young and beautiful. I don’t know, when she’s 80 if she’s gonna be young and beautiful, but I don’t know if she’s gonna be the same, young and beautiful as she is now. And by the way, when she’s 80, I’ll be like, 208. So, we enjoy our relationship now. We enjoy our kids now, Erin does yoga everyday. I do aikido four times a week. So we live our life right now. It sounds busy but we’ve designed our life so that we can be successful while living within what’s most important to us which is time with our kids, time with each other, time for ourselves, all that stuff. That just makes us more efficient, more effective than the time we have available to do business or success, whatever you wanna talk about. But I’m not gonna sacrifice in order to be successful. Because sacrifice means to kill so we want this and that, not this or that. That’s abundance, this and that. This or that is scarcity.
Roxanne – Yeah. Absolutely, that’s incredible. And so, just I guess, if you wanted to leave, you’ve given us so many, you know, gems and tales of wisdom throughout this conversation but if you were to leave, I guess, a message for anyone watching, what would be the key takeaway from, you know, how to step out from some of their biggest challenges and to move on to create a better future for themselves?
Kurek – Well, I would assume that anybody, you know, watching and listening to your program is a good person because it doesn’t make sense that an evil person or a bad person would be into personal growth. So I’m gonna assume everybody’s a good person. Well, as a good person, if somebody lent you a car, a really nice car, a BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes Benz, that I would assume that when they ask back for their car, everybody on the call would probably give them back their car in the same shape, if not better, than it was given to you, right? Well, this is the vehicle that your creator gave you to transport your soul through adventure through life so when you’re asked back for it, make sure it’s in the same shape, if not better than when it was given to you. And remember that all your dreams come true when you make the decision to make them come true. And you know, get help, nobody who succeeds does it alone. You know, find a coach, find somebody to hold you accountable, find somebody to help you with the proper mindset, you develop new skillsets because if you’re able to do it by yourself, you would’ve already done it. But whoever succeeds in life, you know, people watch Arnold Schwarzenegger’s interview on the internet where he’s at a commencement speech for a University and he says, everybody thinks I’m a self-made man but there’s nothing father from the truth, he says, I’ve got help all the way. And I wouldn’t be who I am without getting help. So, you know, if it’s not me who can help you then find somebody immediately, don’t let your dreams get on the, you know, back burner and then one day you look back and you go, man, I should’ve listened to that bald, crazy American guy ’cause I’d be way farther ahead in life. I wouldn’t have so much regret. And for everybody on the calls, you know, my website, we have a program called Get Out Of Your Bad Mood, which is about any mood that doesn’t support your happiness or success, I deem as a bad mood so it’s about managing how you think and feel differently than you are right now ’cause if you feel better, you’re gonna think better, you’re gonna act better, and that’s gonna produce better results, it’s a free course. It’s a real course, it’s not a sales pitch. All you gotta do is go to KurekAshley.com and you’ll see 10 Day Free Course, sign up for it. It doesn’t work by itself though, you actually have to do it, and it’s a game-changer but if you read the comments, by far the best comments I’ve ever read on a program where people go, I can’t believe you’re givin’ this away. The first video changed my life, let alone the rest of the program. So, take the action, get the result.
Roxanne – Excellent, and that’s the key thing, isn’t it? Taking the action not just sitting by and letting life pass you by.
Kurek – Well, knowledge, you know, the world’s full of educated derelicts. Most people know what to do, they’re just not doing what they know, it’s in the doing that we develop, not the knowing.
Roxanne – Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So that’s very true words, excellent. Well, thank you so, so much for your time today, Kurek. It’s been amazing, and thank you guys for coming along to check it out as well. Make sure you like and subscribe ’cause we’ll be trying to flesh some more awesome people like Kurek out of the woodwork and bring you their stories as well, so thank you so much.
Kurek – Thanks for having me, and if any time you want me back, I’d be honored.
Roxanne – Wonderful, thank you.